Posts Tagged With: human rights

On the streets?

Why are there homeless people living on the streets of your city? They are there because they want to be there, right? Your government provides enough housing, enough help.

Although there are people living on the streets because they want to ‘drop out’ of society, a significant number are actually there because of addiction, mental illness, domestic abuse, and a lack of governement support.

I read two interesting articles about this today. The first highlights how easy it is to become homeless, the second reports that homelessness in the UK has risen by 26 percent in the last four years, with a lack of affordable housing being one of the principal reasons for the rise.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/25/how-i-became-homeless-cant-happen-to-you-think-again

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/25/homelessness-crisis-england-perfect-storm

As a Christian, the response is simple:

the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.    Matthew 25 v 34-36.

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Crime against humanity

I have recently been encouraged by the published UN report which details the labour and prison camps currently being enforced by the North Korean dictatorial regime. The report compares the systematic human rights abuses that are being carried out to those of the Nazis and has already referred the matter to the International Criminal Court. Ever since I read Blaine Harden’s book ‘Escape from Camp 14’, which relates the account of one man’s escape from such a camp, I have had North Korea very much on my mind. The constantly changing political landscape and the instant, immediate way that the news is broadcast nowadays means that it is easy to adopt a passive indifference every time we hear of a new dictatorship that has emerged or a civil war that has sprung up, but I believe that the situation in North Korea has been going on for far too long for the West to continue to justify turning a blind eye to it. Prayer and action can make a difference!

Here is one of many petitions being run online to raise awareness. This one is being carried out by the British Government:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/61060

Here is a video taken from a North Korean tour bus which gives a very brief glimpse into the hardships taking place:

Here is an insightful article about the UN report, taken from the UK’s Guardian newspaper:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/17/north-korea-human-rights-abuses-united-nationshttp://

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North Korea

There is no ‘human rights issue’ in this country, as everyone leads the most dignified and happy life.”

North Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photos, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.”

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. By Blaine Harden.

Blaine Harden’s book ‘Escape from Camp 14’ details the true life story of a young man who was born into a North Korean prison camp and 23 years later became the only person known to have escaped. The first half of the book describes the unbearably harsh conditions that he was exposed to as a child, the second part depicts his escape into China and subsequent years of gradual rehabilitation up until the present day and his current role as a human rights activist working in South Korea.

I do not intend to review the book here, instead I imagine it is suffice to say that I easily read it in a day, and then immediately wanted to tell others about it.

I simply wanted to promote awareness about the political prison camps in North Korea as I believe they warrant our attention and prayer.

More information:

Blaine Harden’s website: http://www.blaineharden.com

Wikipedia page on human rights in North Korea:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_North_Korea

Categories: Human rights | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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